Zahraa and Abdul Hafeethe

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Zahraa and Abdul Hafeethe’s wedding was rustic chic beautiful. Zahraa’s floral appliqué dress with overskirt was so pretty, the little flower girls were sweet in their frothy pink gowns and flower crowns, and the overall relaxed and elegant feel was executed perfectly. Zahraa planned her wedding down to the minutest detail, and incorporated some thoughtful elements, such as the advice cards and the flower station where guests could take the arrangements home. Most importantly, it was a gathering of their nearest and dearest which made for an ultimately heartwarming and memorable affair. Here are all the details of the wedding… 

How did you meet We met in 2007 at community gathering. He had come from South Africa with his father, they were planning to move to Melbourne and had come to see what Melbourne was like. We had a mutual friend who he came with. I took one glance at him, heard his accent and was smitten. I told my friend and she couldn’t keep her mouth closed and blurted it out to him. Later that evening he came straight up to me and asked “is it true?” My 14 year old self was so taken a back that:

a) a boy was talking to me

b) Was what true?

c) To never trust that friend with a secret again.

 Tell us about the proposal I wish I could say that the proposal was like one of those extravagant ones you see on youtube though it is quite the opposite. Traditionally the male is to ask for the girls hand in marriage and that’s what Abdul Hafeethe along with his father and family came to do. My family and I were all present and my father knew the intention of their visit. We had been together for 2 years.  When Hafeethe asked my father his reaction wasn’t the normal yes, no or your too young or maybe. My father blurted out immediately that he had to ask his mothers (my grandmother) permission. Mind you for the last two years that Hafeethe had been visiting the house to see me, my grandmother thought that Abdul Hafeethe was my younger brother’s friend. So Hafeethe left that evening with no answer. Though I believe when my father came to terms that his only daughter was growing up and my grandmother gave her blessing, 2 months later we were engaged on my mother’s birthday and the night before Hafeethe’s birthday (he says getting engaged was the best birthday present).

How long was the engagement The engagement was a 2-year engagement. It allowed us to travel to South Africa to visit and introduce each other to our families. Abdul Hafeethe’s father’s side still reside in Cape Town along with all my mother’s side. The 2 year engagement also allowed us to become part of each other families, family friends and communities as it was very important to us as you don’t only marry the person you marry the family too.

How was the wedding planning process The planning process for me was easy. I inherited my mother’s organizational skills and have a real knack for serial list making, though I’ve also inherited a strong sense of procrastination and hesitation from my father. So I would have lists of all that needed to be done just the process in completing it took longer than necessary but would all fall into place.

My mother helped me with a lot of the planning and organizing as I was still finishing up my last semester of my degree, she was and still is the perfect partner.

We had many highlight moments small things like not being able to find material and then magically it being there. My wedding shoes were a nightmare to find but I went into a store on Sydney road that was closing down and the last pair for $50. The groom’s suit was his only priority and task for the wedding (and to show up). It was 2 weeks before the wedding and he still didn’t have a suit(typical him). So 4 days before the wedding he went suit shopping and 1 hour later walked out with a suit that fit perfectly didn’t need a stitch of alterations and didn’t blow the budget.

How did you decide on a wedding venue The wedding venue was decided by my mother. We wanted a venue that incorporate outdoor and indoor. The wedding was to be in summer, we were having kids so we wanted the guests to be able to roam freely talk and interact with each other and playing outdoor games. We originally had chosen a venue, it was a barn with large wooden panels. Though unfortunately the venue closed down. My mum went venue hunting one morning and stumbled upon Lindenderry and booked it. I hadn’t seen the venue only pictures from the website and only saw it 4 months before the wedding. The venue was everything we wanted.

What inspired your wedding style The wedding was about celebrating our marriage as we had already had the religious ceremony in September 2014, which was celebrated with immediate family only. So this wedding celebration was where we could have the closest and dearest friends and family with us. “A wedding can happen anywhere and at any time, but it can only be a true celebration when all the people you love are there to share it with you”. The people we had invited have all known me since I was born and have met each other at all of our main events. So it was an opportunity for everyone to meet up again and reconnect. The style and theme had to allow for interaction to take place it had to have a formal but relaxed ambiance. Also if it rained would allow people to comfortably mingle, we live in Melbourne we can never depended on the weather.

The decoration styling was completely derived from pinterest and a previous wedding we had seen styled by style and discourse ( at the wedding venue. We used colours that were going to be present around summer and were featured in the bridal bouquet and flower girls dresses. I wanted the wedding to be succinct throughout, and flow from outdoors to indoors. Rustic and pastels.

THE Dress My dress was inspired by one of my favourite designers Elie Saab, everything similar to this wedding fell in place. I found the dressmaker recommended by my mums work friends and oh she was phenomenal. The material was purchased from Tessuti Fabrics ( We were so lucky it was the last of what they had. My dressmaker helped me redesign the dress making it more appropriate. She hand stitched and picked/unpicked and placed flowers to cover more areas. I wanted my dress to be the main feature I wanted it to be simple and elegant, but not too formal and something that many didn’t expect from me. I’m the basic girl in grey white and black.

DIY elements  The whole wedding was DIY being a graphic designer I knew exactly the style and theme I was going for. Being a bit of a control freak I wanted to do it ALL.

-The tables had hessian runners, which we purchased and cut.

-The jars that housed the table arrangements, were collected throughout the year by family members.

-The menu, table and name cards I designed, printed and cut.

The Name cards for each person were wooden stumps with a flag with each persons name. The wooden stump were from the pear tree at my parent’s house, which needed to be cut back. Each member who attended the wedding would have either climbed the tree, ate the pears from the tree or sat under it at some stage. So a piece of my childhood was at my wedding.

The main interaction area of the wedding was a 6m table that housed a station I had designed/created to ensure that we got memories from every guest and that people interacted with each other. At the station there was a flower stall with brown paper and string, which at the end of the event guests could wrap up the table arrangements to take home. Advice cards, a set of 4 with marriage advice, fun advice, about the couple or draw us a picture. Each guest had to fill out or draw the answers to the questions for us to read later.

I made filmstrip sleeves for the guest to house their filmstrips from the photo booth, which was our thank you gift a long with a box of cake.

The Cake was also DIY my mother baked the cake. Two of her work friends iced and decorated it. It was the best tasting cake. I still crave it!

What does marriage mean to you both When we get asked what is married life like, our greatest explanation is one big sleepover with your best friend (and housework). Marriage is our new greatest adventure both being under the age of 23 it means building our dreams, futures and failures together. Learning to compromise, understand and allow the other person in. We are a team now working out all our kinks to building our stable future.

Memorable moment of the day When everyone was seated I took a moment to look at everyone’s face. We were very close with them all, shared strong memories with them. Looking at them all coming together to celebrate our special day made me incredibly happy. We had people that travelled from France, London, South Africa, Brisbane, Canberra, Craiggieburn even(they complain the most about distance). Also my mother speech was amazing and she’s not one for speeches. She completely blew us away.

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Photography & VideographerLahza Photography

Stylist Chloe Staley & Rosanna West (friends of the bride)

Stationary Zahraa Mian (Bride)

Florist Highett Florist

Reception Venue + Catering Lindenderry at Red Hill

Cake Ruchana Arieff-Mian (Brides Mother) Sarah Rawlings (Brides mothers work friend) Shihoko Pearson (Brides mothers work friend)

Décor Bride’s family

Bridal Gown Susanne Kitson Design

Shoes Lily Rose Shoes & accessories

Accessories Pearl earrings – Maternal Grandmothers

Hair Georgia Ramman @georamman (instagram)

Makeup Zainab Batool @zeemakeupartist

Groom’s Suit RDX Roger David

Watch Breitling (gift from an uncle)

Flower Girl’s Dresses Susanne Kitson Design

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